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Lined Lunch Tote - Sewing the Handles

Now we are going to make the bag handles. Take one of the 4 x 27 inch strips that you cut and fold it in half lengthwise and press press it.
press bag strap

Next, open up the strip and then fold one side in so that the edge is close to the middle and press using the edge of the iron so that you don't press out the center crease that you pressed in.
press bag strap

Fold the other side of the strip into the center in the same manner.
press bag strap

Fold strip in half again so that the folded edges meet and press strip flat.
press bag strap

Stich straps along both edges 1/8 inch away from edge to close and secure the strap. Tip: when you reach the end of one side, instead of clipping the thread and stitching the other side, simply turn the corner and stitch along the bottom on the strap and continue up the other side. This saves a little thread and time clipping.

Repeat this process with the 2 inch wide strip to make the button tab.
topstitch bag straps

On bag lining, measure in 3 1/2 inches from each side seam and place a pin. This marks where the handles will be attached.
tote handle spacing

To keep track of how the bag handles are aligned, put a pin at both ends on the same side of the strap. Repeat for other strap.
lunch tote handles

On left side of bag lining, pin a handle to bag lining with the pinned edge facing the center and the outside edge of the strap at the pin that you placed in the lining in a previous step. The raw edge of the handle should align with the top edge of the lining. Repeat this step on the right side of the bag, making sure that the handle hasn't twisted. Turn the bag lining around and repeat these steps on the other side (refer to photo for clarification).
pin handles to lunch tote

To place the button tab, find the middle of one of the sides of the lining and place a pin to mark it.
tote bag button tab

Pin the prepared button tub in the same fashion as you did the handles, with the button tab edges next to each other as shown in the photo.
pin button tab

Make sure that the handles and button tab are tucked down in the lining. Insert the outer bag (right side out) and pin around the top edge. Pin side seams together so that they match up nicely.
Pin lunch tote together

Click to learn how to finish the bag

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